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Unspoken abuse: Mothers who rape their sons - NewsComAu

Emotionally Abusive Mothers - EQI

If you are the mother of a sexually abused child, this site is for you
The Male-Coerced offender acts initially in conjunction with a male who has previously abused children. She exhibits a pattern of extreme dependency and nonassertive behavior, and she may eventually initiate sexual abuse herself. Her victims are children both within and outside of the family.

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Like many people who were emotionally abused as teens, with time having passed she doesn't consider what her mother did to be abusive.
7. Many studies depict women who sexually abuse children as being loners, socially isolated, alienated, likely to have had abusive childhoods, and apt to have emotional problems. However, most are not psychotic.


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O'Connor (1987) reports on a group of 62 convicted and imprisoned female sex offenders in Great Britain. In 39(63%) of the sex offenses with individual victims; the victims were children and in 9 cases the offender was the mother or stepmother. In most (25) of the cases the women were convicted of aiding and abetting a male offender. Almost half of the women convicted of child sexual abuse had a previous history of psychiatric disorder. Sexual gratification was never noted as a motivation for the women involved in sex offenses with a victim.

Although these case studies are interesting, we question Krug's classifying all of them as sexual abuse. The behaviors of the mothers sleeping with their sons into adolescence may be inappropriate and infantilizes the boys, but to label all such cases as sexual abuse is to use a very inclusive definition of sexual abuse. Krug reports that all these men had psychological and adjustment problems. However, since this was a clinical sample we would expect the men to report emotional and adjustment problems in that this is why they sought therapy.

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Goodwin and DiVasto (1989) review six reported cases of mother-daughter incest and two cases of grandmother-granddaughter incest. These cases deviate from the usual descriptions of incest and the authors note that physical closeness between mothers and daughters is less subject to taboo than are father and daughter contacts. The greater toleration of physical intimacy between mothers and daughters makes it more difficult for the child, the parent, and eventually the therapist to recognize when these contacts become incestuous. Although Goodwin and DiVasto acknowledge that since the reports of mother-daughter incest are few and brief, any conclusions must be tentative, they find that the mothers seem to be similar to those mothers who initiate mother-son incest. They describe the mothers as aggressive women who have abandoned their maternal role for an exploitive relationship with their children. Their need for nurturance precipitates a sexual relationship with the child. In all five cases of mother-daughter incest, the mothers were involved in deteriorating marriages. Goodwin and DiVasto believe that mother-daughter incest is more common than the rare case reports suggest.

Characteristics of Narcissistic Mothers

Rowan, Rowan, and Langelier (1990) examined 600 sex offender evaluations in New Hampshire and Vermont and found that in only nine (1.5%) was the perpetrator a woman. These nine cases are discussed in terms of Finkelhor's (1984) four-factor model. In five of the cases, the abuse occurred in conjunction with a dominant male partner; in four the woman acted independently. The case histories of several of the women showed a history of childhood abuse and all had serious psychological problems or limited intelligence. The four women who acted independently abused boys. Of the five who acted in conjunction with a male, three had female victims, one a male victim, and one victimized both a son and a daughter. The authors conclude that none of these cases were true paraphilics according to the DSM-llI-R but that the female molesters did fit the model proposed by Finkelhor.

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The independent offenders in particular were characterized as experiencing themselves psychologically as loners and lacking any sense of attachment or belonging. They were likely to have married as teenagers. Half were characterized as seriously emotionally disturbed and almost half had a serious chemical abuse problem. However, all were at least of average intelligence. In three of the cases of mother-son incest, the father was out of the home and the mothers seemed to treat the boys as age mates. However, the women who abused daughters seemed to treat the daughters as extensions of themselves.